Wednesday, February 3, 2010

On the Occasion of my 400th Post

My most faithful reader.
(I suspect she may have ulterior motives.)

When I started this blog, (in October 2008) I was sure that my followers would be in the hundreds within a matter of a few weeks. Readers? Oh, I'd have 'em--no problem. I told both my book clubs, my friends, my co-workers, and my relatives, even acquaintances I ran into in the the grocery store. I was sure, absolutely SURE that everyone would want to come and read every little thought I had. After all, many of these people were the ones who were always urging me to write down my stories. They were my biggest supporters. Surely they would tune in.

Boy, did I get a big ol' life lesson.

Apparently, people had other things to do, other interests, and though many greeted my news with enthusiasm, they never managed to sign on and read my posts. Hummm....

There were times in those early days when I threw myself some pretty good pity parties. It was frustrating knowing, for instance, that the woman who has been my best friend from first grade didn't read my blog. One of my sisters shows zero interest. Some of my good writing buddies don't read my blog. I had to beat my head against this for quite some time before I got some inner composure.

The worst situation is when I am talking to friends and I'll want to tell them something I wrote about in my blog, but to avoid repeating a story, I have to ask, "Did you read about ----- in Bossy Betty?" Then I get the sheepish "no." I feel bad about putting that person on the spot. I think they feel like I am disappointed too. (To be honest, sometimes I am.)

The other day I had a situation like the previous one and my friend admitted she didn't read my stuff. "It's know...just too much."


I guess I could take that a couple of ways. I do tend to write long posts and I do tend to post almost every day. For awhile I thought maybe I was coming across as that obnoxious student in the front row, holding up her hand and making "O! O! O! Notice me! " sounds. I decided I wouldn't post as much. Maybe I was putting people off. I skipped some days, but missed posting.

I also thought "...just too much" might refer to my personality. I do get a little wacky in some of my posts. I also get pretty heavy sometimes. And I HAVE always been that bulb that burned just a little too bright. I used to chastise myself for it, and tried to change, but at some point I think you just have to start liking yourself and stop changing who you are for others' approval. That brightness serves me well in most areas of my life anyway.

So, on the occasion of my 400th post I stop and reflect on what I have I learned from this whole journey.

First, it made me think about my own actions when my friends and others have launched projects. I know now that it's important to show up, to lend support. I may not have been the best about that in the past, but having a blog has taught me that small actions mean a lot.

I've learned that not everyone shows support in the same way. This was a tough one. I have a dear friend who refuses to sign up as a follower. Refuses. He won't leave comments either. Yet, I know, deep in my heart that he supports me--just not in the way I may want him to. I think this is the universe telling me once again that I don't always know best.

I've been blessed through my blog with some great people who share their lives and thoughts with me. I love the small, but very groovy band of people who have jumped on the Bossy Betty wagon--for the whole trip or maybe for just a short portion of it. My faithful readers mean so much to me. Sometimes posting feels like going out on a stage, singing your heart out, and just hoping someone out there is listening and maybe even chooses to clap once and awhile.

There were times in the early days when I'd have, maybe eleven visitors, most of them lost, that I thought about chucking it all. However, something always drew me back. Like any author I wanted people to like my work, but more importantly, I found I liked the process of writing my pieces. It made me happy. In an essay Annie Dillard talks about this and said she had discovered " do what you do out of your private passion for the thing itself." Pretty simple, huh?

So, maybe it's a little off-key.

Maybe it's a little "too much."

But maybe, just maybe, it's just right for me.

It's my song.

Thanks for listening.


Lazy Pineapple said...

what a candid post....I agree with you totally.This post is exactly the way I feel...I really am in your shoes :)

Just came here through Blogcatalog and am glad I did it. Keep your chin up :)

Wisconsin Parent said...

Hey Bossy Betty! I love that your first comment was some random Chinese spam. You know, I write this post in my head about every day. I am one month your blogging senior...shhh...three of my followers are really me. :-) My mom NEVER reads my blog. Except when I practically begged her to on the phone last week (feel pseudo guilty about that). My sister. Nope. My "in-person" friends. Never. I used to have logos for all their businesses in the margin and I just took them down a couple of weeks ago. I had them up there as a gesture, but no one ever came. Honestly, I don't think anyone probably even noticed. Blogging takes a lot of time and energy and sometimes I'm not sure why I keep going back to it every night (instead of sleeping). For me, I like to write and it's a creative outlet. It's lead to a job and a column now, and that's and I aren't "mommy" bloggers either, and our end reader is not as defined. If it makes you feel any better, you are one of my favorite blogs to read!

LittleSilkDress said...

I LOVE reading your blog. Please don't stop writing. It brightens my day. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and talent with us.

Anjanette said...

I, too, love reading your blog. Although I am fairly new to it (I met you at Evan's bball game--Deb's sister-in-law) I have really loved seeing the world through your eyes and have often laughed out loud. And, once again, I wish I was still in need of some college credits so that I could take your class. Please don't stop writing...the world needs you!

Unknown said...

Congrat's on your 400th post. I sent a link from Bossy Betty to one of my blogging buddies the other day -- she loved it -- but she didn't sign up for follower either-- I think it's like this -- either you have the time and energy to read blog's or ya don't -- I personally do and love it!

In fact I was thinking the other day -- I would love to feature a blogger a week -- that I just love to read -- no giveaway's/review's or anything -- just that Hey I like to ready your post's -- want to be my first?

Have a great week-- I'll be reading even if your in life friend's won't! LOL.

Trisha Dawn said...

I am convinced that your blog is going to get out there and get a big following...I have known it from the start!

Shan said...

I love your song! And the great thing about reading blogs is if one's offering "too much" we can come back when we're not so full.

As a fellow long post writer, I would really love to have something brilliantly verbose, but that's all I've got.

Brian said...

Your warmth, intelligence, perspicacity and humor -- that's what keeps me coming back.

Anonymous said...

oh betty! we love you, and to those who don't read it, or won't read it, or haven't yet discovered it, they don't have the benefit of your shining light :) all the more for us.

Anonymous said...

You are fabulous!

Happy Homemaker said...

Keep on going, Girlfriend...don't worry so much about who's reading and who is not! We check in from time to time and it always lifts our spirits! Keep it going!

Unknown said...

I admit to being inconsistent, Betty, but I do check in here and I am never disappointed. Yours is a fabulous blog, both funny and intelligent. In fact I often read bits out loud to my husband and both of us crack up, which, believe me, is an endorsement! But I especially appreciate this frank discussion about your blogging and how it has been received (or not) by the world. I went into it in a similarly starry-eyed way and had the same initial sort of let-down. Even now I cannot believe that friends who claim to love me cannot be bothered to occasionally read my very heart's transcription. I suppose I mostly write for myself -- the practice, the discipline, the processing of experience. But no, that's not entirely true. I know that the sharing (and receiving by others) completes the cycle. So I think of it as sending out a message in a bottle, and one never knows if it will reach the other shore, but now and then I hear from people (such as you) and I know I have connected, and it's gratifying indeed. I try not to check my statistics because they are laughable. (I guarantee you get far more hits than I do!) I would be surprised if I have more than ten loyal readers (bless their souls), and it's a good thing I am not trying to sell anything, because I'd be a sinking ship. So it's been a bit humbling, actually. But like you, I am more empathetic now when someone else launches a project or puts themselves "out there", and I recognize the importance of showing support and encouragement. Like now. What I want to say, if I haven't already, is that yours is an unusually vibrant, entertaining blog that feels like a friend on the screen, and the love shines through. There's something good-spirited and gracious in your doing it, and I thank you. Congratulations on 400 posts, and I am now going to sign up as an official follower.